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Sound Bites: Sinking Teeth into the Latest from the Music World – Ulver – Flowers of Evil

This year, without a doubt, has sucked more than Chris Barnes’ vocals. To say I miss live shows is an understatement, seeing as the last one I went to was back in February when I saw Ingested and the mighty Visceral Disgorge, for the second time I might add, at the now-defunct Lookout Lounge. That last sentence is sad on a few notes as I miss putting on the old battle vest and worry about the future of our venues. No matter what happens, though, music will never die. It will always be there, carrying us through all the shitty parts of our lives, and for that, I am thankful.


Music is indeed alive and well, as evidenced by the multitude of killer music coming out. With another year of music entering into its last act, it’s time to talk about some of it. Each week I’ll present a new album review, in condensed form, for your perusal. First up, Ulver.


Three years after the critically acclaimed, The Assassination of Julius Caesar, front man and mastermind of the band, Kristoffer Rygg, has released Flowers of Evil. While of a similar vein as Assassination, Flowers is more pop than its predecessor. Fans of Ulver, past and present, will undoubtedly know that over the years, the band has changed their sound from black and folk metal to experimental electronica. This culminated with the release of Assassination, an album steeped in soaring vocals, electronic-pop mastery, a complex story line, and a tight grip on atmosphere. While Flowers aims to be like this, only with a more pop undertone, it just doesn’t deliver the goods. I found songs like “Russian Doll” easy enough to like but it didn’t serve up the same brilliance as “So Falls the World” from Assasination.

Flowers of Evil isn’t a bad album, but it isn’t that great either. The thing that sticks out most about this album is the lack of solid endings. There are no buildups that culminate in endings that grab you. It’s like seeing your favorite person across a field but they can only walk halfway to meet you. It’s a disappointing letdown. While the ingredients are there to make a killer album, none of it comes together in a way that moves you, and I found myself easily distracted while listening to it.


My two cents: Save yourself the money, or, better yet, go buy The Assassination of Julius Caesar – if you haven’t already.


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